Monday, April 21, 2003

And this is an honors class 

I love teaching in our Honors program, as it gives me a chance to work with great students and be a little creative in the classroom. But I've never been this creative.
303-02 Guy Things: Men and Masculinity in America

This course will examine the many influences (e.g. parents, church, media, government, peers) that shape the gender identity of males as they grow from boyhood to manhood. We will analyze this process by utilizing readings, videos, and experiential approaches to excavate the messages both subtly and overtly given to boys and men which influence their development. Students taking this course will have the opportunity to connect theoretical and practical aspects of masculinity by engaging in a service and research project. Other assignments will involve media critiques and presentations, and reflecting personally on students' own socialization. Both men and women are encouraged to enroll and come ready to excavate assumptions about gender.

260-01 Earth in the Balance: Achieving Sustainable Global Development

In this seminar, we will explore the state of the world and critical social and environmental problems; examine factors (such as fossil fuel emissions, urbanization, wars, increasing population, and increasing consumption per capita) that contribute to these problems; and consider the role of international agencies such as the United Nations, the IMF and World Bank, NAFTA and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Proponents say that the policies of these organizations are part of the solution, whereas critics say that they only exacerbate the problems. As part of our exploration, we will compare a variety of perspectives as reflected in news articles and other media from countries around the world. The seminar will conclude by discussing ways that humankind can begin to repair ecological damage and achieve sustainable global development (i.e. improve the quality of life for people now without jeopardizing the quality of life for future generations).

250-01 Animal Ethics

Moral issues arising in our treatment of nonhuman animals. We will be looking at various answers to these and other questions: What is the moral status of animals? Do they have moral rights? Do we have moral obligations to animals? If so, what are they? Do animals feel pain? Are they conscious? Do they have desires and beliefs? What are the moral implications of attributing certain mental states to animals? Are humans morally required to abstain from eating animals? Always? Is it morally wrong to use them as subjects for scientific research and experimentation? Always? Is sport hunting immoral?

I've deleted names of professors, but you can view all the courses offered here. I found a flyer for the Guy Things course that leads with the question "Are you a REAL man? Do you know a REAL man? What does that even mean??!!" (Italics in original.) The course is a Women's Studies elective. (Is it a real Women's Studies elective?)

It's a pity that such cant has crept into the Honors curriculum. These students seek rigorous training and openly question assumptions in the classroom. I had a course there last fall, titled "Economic Development of the Last Millenium" that was as challenging a course as I've ever taught, because I had such good students making me work. It also had the advantage of providing an outlet for high-quality students to avoid the indoctrination within our own general education program. Now, however, they are being offered crash-courses in liberal ideology.

ADDED: FUZZY GENDER: Cold Spring Shops asks:

Economists please note: the text above makes clear the point that sex is a proxy for gender: when you call an explanatory variable "gender" rather than "sex" you have not removed an NC-17 rating from your paper.
Note that Stephen's April archive is not up right now, so scroll down further. And he points to this interesting post on gender differences, not likely to be part of the Honors class, I'd bet.